"During Magnetation’s formative stages and at other crucial junctures in our initial development, IEDC staff put in considerable time and commitment in helping us succeed. They not only helped us to secure governmental assistances like JOBZ, DEED financing and Iron Range Resource funding, but they also provided counsel and help with marketing and strategic issues. We very much appreciate the help we have received to date from IEDC."
Michael Anderson, President and Michael Stiglich, Vice President Midwest Manufacturing & Mechanical, Inc.
IEDC is located in Grand Rapids, Minnesota - the county seat of Itasca County - which was recognized as the 49th best small town in America by the Prentice Hall publication "100 Best Small Towns in America". Located just three hours north of Minneapolis/St. Paul and one hour south of the Canadian border, Itasca County is surrounded by 1,000 lakes, a million acres of forestland, and one mighty Mississippi River. The area offers a superior quality of life that allows the needs of leading edge businesses to be met while offering the opportunity to be on the lake before sundown.
The Blandin Foundation is an independent, private foundation based in Grand Rapids. Many of the area′s amenities are attributable to the generosity of the Blandin Foundation. Since its inception, the Foundation has awarded nearly $300 million to enhance the economic viability of rural communities with an emphasis in the Grand Rapids area.
Anchoring the Itasca area′s economy is a robust manufacturing base including Blandin Paper, owned by the Finland based UPM, the largest producer of magazine paper in the world. Minnesota Power produces electricity at the Boswell Energy Center. ASV, Inc., a subsidiary of Terex Corporation, produces rubber track vehicles and is evidence that the community welcomes and nurtures entrepreneurial companies. The company began operations with three employees in the early 1980′s and was founded by Edgar Hetteen who also founded Polaris Industries and Arctic Cat. Today, with 225 employees, ASV is one of the premier companies in the region.
Technology based industries also play an important role in the area′s growing economy. The Itasca Technology Exchange offers state-of-the-art data center services to companies such as WindLogics, a subsidiary of Florida Power and Light, which predicts wind patterns for the wind energy industry.
Residents value the excellent educational opportunities available to their children and to the adult community. Within the borders of Itasca County, four independent school districts and five private schools deliver outstanding early childhood through 12th grade education, including programs such as International Baccalaureate.
Itasca Community College (ICC) is located in Grand Rapids and serves more than 1,200 students with a faculty of 40 and an average class size of 24 students. The University of Minnesota-Duluth Campus and the College of St. Scholastica provide classes and degree programs at ICC. Adjacent to ICC is the U of M North Central research and Outreach Center.
Area residents have access to three state-of-the-art health care facilities. Over 10% of Itasca County’s workforce are employed at our hospitals and numerous medical service providers. Recent investments in Itasca County’s health care facilities top $100 million.
Local residents value the world class cultural opportunities available. The Reif Performing Arts Center sets Grand Rapids apart from other communities its size in its support of dance, theater, and popular entertainment. It offers over 40 performances annually featuring talent from New York to Moscow. The Center also provides dance and orchestral classes for youth and adults.
Northern Itasca County is also home to the Edge Center for the Arts. The community-based organization provides enhancement to the Bigfork School and the local community.
Grand Rapids is home to the MacRostie Arts Center, dedicated to community growth through the arts. The center features monthly exhibitions, classes and a retail gift shop featuring local and regional art.
To mark the beginning of the new millennium, the community renewed its commitment to providing all of its citizen’s access to informational resources with the construction of the new $5.5 million Grand Rapids Area Library, located on the north bank of the Mississippi River.
Located at the southeastern entrance to the Chippewa National Forest, nestled among Itasca County’s 1,000 pristine lakes, outdoor recreational opportunities such as hunting, fishing and skiing abound in the Grand Rapids area. Generations of Itasca County residents have enjoyed this recreational haven with four well maintained 18 hole golf courses offering championship level play, all within 15 minutes or less of the downtown. Grand Rapids is also the trailhead of the Mesabi Trail system providing access to unparalleled snowmobiling and bicycle trekking experiences.
Mt. Itasca is a community asset that is home to snow-sports athletes and enthusiasts of every age and is one of the only facilities in the county that maintains venue for downhill, snowboard, biathlon, cross-country, ski jumping and Nordic-combined at a single site.